Unexplained chronic fatigue, muscle pain and problems with thinking are experienced by a quarter of Gulf War veterans, and new research suggests exposure to DNA-damaging chemicals may cause this condition, known as Gulf War Syndrome.
Previous studies have suggested that the symptoms stem from a malfunction of mitochondria, the site in cells where molecules that power the body are made. The mitochondria have their own DNA, separate from the cell’s.
Researchers analyzed blood samples to measure the amount of mitochondrial DNA and degree of damage to this DNA among veterans with Gulf War Illness (GWI)
The vets not only had more mitochondrial DNA, but also more mitochondrial DNA damage than otherwise healthy adults, the researchers found.
Study author Yang Chen, a doctoral researcher at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences in New Jersey, presented the findings at a recent meeting of the American Psychological Association in Tampa, Fla.
“Future studies are necessary to confirm these findings and determine their association with mitochondrial function. Work in this area may guide new diagnostic testing and treatments for veterans suffering from GWI,” the study’s authors wrote.
At rest, most of our energy is derived from splitting glucose molecules in half. This process, called anaerobic glycolysis produces three molecules of ATP (the energy molecule of the body). However, it requires two molecules of ATP to run the chemistry, so the net gain is only one molecule of energy. Despite the low yield, this process does not require oxygen.
Mitochondria take those molecules of split glucose (pyruvic acid), strip all the electrons of all the hydrogen molecules and attach them to B vitamins (and other co-factors). The B vitamins then go into electron transport (cofactor Co Q10) to net 27 molecules of ATP. This very efficient process requires oxygen. This process is called the Krebs’s Citric Acid Cycle (CAC) and is facilitated by regular aerobic exercise.
Now that you’ve had that chemistry shoved down your throat, look at the study again. If mitochondrial function is impaired, you will be fatigued, have muscle pain, and problems thinking. These symptoms are not confined to Gulf War veterans, a majority of the population suffers from these same symptoms to a lesser extent.
In part, that is because we all suffer ongoing DNA damage from our environment. However, any impairment of the citric acid cycle can create these symptoms. The QA (Quintessential Applications) protocol employs a simple test of cellular respiration.
Using a weak indicator muscle, the patient re-breathes air from a paper bag, increasing the CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels in the blood stream. It this strengthens the weak muscle, an impairment of the CAC is present. Then it is a simple matter of testing each of the co-factors involved in this chemical pathway. Most commonly it is one or more of the B vitamins, but several minerals or Co Q10 may be deficient as well.
DNA damage will respond to one or more of the adaptogens. Remember that adaptogens like Ashwaganda, Korean ginseng, Tribulus, and Rehmannia by definition must facilitate repair of DNA to qualify as adaptogens. Please review my blog “The Endocrine System” posted on May 14, 2014.
The Bottom Line:
If you suffer from fatigue, muscle pain and problems thinking please seek nutritional evaluation of the Citric Acid Cycle and endocrine system. Long term stress and/or toxic chemical exposure can create DNA damage resulting in these symptoms.
Source: September 23, 2015 National Institutes of Health